Faculty Details

Photo of Lowell J. Taylor

Lowell J. Taylor

H. John Heinz III Professor of Economics

Voice: 412-268-3278
Email: lt20@andrew.cmu.edu
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Lowell J. Taylor is the H. John Heinz III Professor of Economics at the Heinz College, where he has been on the faculty since 1990.  He is also a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he serves as Principal Investigator of the 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97).  He previously served as a senior economist with President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors.  In 2011 and 2012 he was Visiting Professor at the Economics Department, University of California, Berkeley.

Taylor’s research is in labor economics and economic demography. 

He is co-author of the first paper studying the gay and lesbian popultion ever to appear in Demography, the flagship journal in the field. That paper, which demonstrated how data from the U.S. Census can be used to study same-sex couples, led to a rapidly growing sub-field in demography.

Many of Taylor’s papers study the basic functioning of labor markets. On the theoretical level, his research shows how firm-level incentive structures can shape fundamental labor market outcomes in surprising and important ways. Thus, his research demonstrates how incentives can lead to a “rat race” equilibrium in professional labor markets, in which all participants work inefficiency long hours.  As a second example, his works shows how racial disparity in unemployment emerges in labor markets even when no employer harbors racial prejudice. 

His research includes work on such policy-relevant topics as minimum wage policy and affirmative action in higher education.

Over the past several years, Taylor has been involved in research on healthcare finance and delivery in the U.S. He won the 11th Annual Health Care Research Award from the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) for "Physician Incentives in Health Maintenance Organizations" (Journal of Political Economy, 2004).  He won the 20th Annual Arrow Award from the International Health Economics Association for "Unhealthy Insurance Markets: Search Frictions and the Cost and Quality of Health Insurance" (American Economic Review, 2011).

Taylor is a three-time winner of the top teaching award at the Heinz College.

Recent Publications

“The Great Migration and African-American Mortality: Evidence from the Deep South” (with Dan A. Black, Seth G. Sanders, and Evan J. Taylor), American Economic Review, forthcoming.

“Predictive Inference Using Latent Variables with Covariates” (with Brian Junker, Lynne Steuerle Schofield, and Dan A. Black), Psychometrika, forthcoming.

“Do Entry Regulations Deter Entrepreneurship and Job Creation? Evidence from Recent Reforms in Portugal,” (with Lee Branstetter, Francisco Lima and Ana Venancio), Economic Journal, 2014.

“Why Do So Few Women Work in New York (and So Many in Minneapolis)? Labor Supply of Married Women across U.S. Cities” (with Dan A. Black and Natalia Kolesnikova), Journal of Urban Economics, 79, 2014.

“The Role of Location in Evaluating Racial Wage Disparity” (with Dan A. Black, Natalia Kolesnikova and Seth Sanders), IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 2(2), 2013.

“Are Children ‘Normal’?” (with Dan A. Black, Natalia Kolesnikova and Seth Sanders), Review of Economics and Statistics, 95(1), 2013.

“The Effect of Hospital Nurse Staffing on Patient Outcomes: Evidence from California’s Minimum Staffing Regulation” (with Andrew Cook, Martin Gaynor and Mel Stephens), Journal of Health Economics, 31(2), 2012.

“The Use of Cognitive Ability as an Explanatory Variable in Regression Analysis” (with Lynne Steuerle Schofield and Brian Junker), IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 1(4), 2012.

"Unhealthy Insurance Markets: Search Frictions and the Cost and Quality of Health Insurance" (with Randall Cebul, James Rebitzer and Mark Votruba), American Economic Review, 101(5), 2011.

"Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motives: Standard and Behavioral Approaches to Agency and Labor Markets," (with James Rebitzer), Orley Ashenfelter and David Card, editors, Handbook of Labor Economics, vol. 5. Amsterdam: North Holland, 2011.

"Racial Disparity in Unemployment" (with Joseph Ritter), Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(1), 2011.

Selected Older Publications

"Understanding the Returns to Education when Prices and Wages Vary by Location" (with Dan Black and Natalia Kolesnikova), Journal of Labor Economics, 27(1), 2009.

"Organizational Fragmentation in the U.S. Health Care System" (with Randall Cebul, Ray Herschman, James Rebitzer, and Mark Votruba), Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(4), 2008.

"Gender Wage Disparities among the Highly Educated" (with Dan Black, Amelia Haviland and Seth Sanders), Journal of Human Resources, 43(3), 2008.

"The Economics of Lesbian and Gay Families" (with Dan Black and Seth Sanders), Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(2), 2007.

"When Knowledge is an Asset: Explaining the Organizational Structure of Large Law Firms" (with James Rebitzer), Journal of Labor Economics, 25(2), 2007.

"Why Do Minority Men Earn Less? A Study of Wage Differentials among the Highly Educated" (with Dan Black, Amelia Haviland and Seth Sanders), Review of Economics and Statistics, 88(2), 2006.

"Physician Incentives in HMOs" (with Martin Gaynor and James Rebitzer), Journal of Political Economy, 112(4), 2004.

"Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and CPS" (with Dan Black and Seth Sanders), Journal of the American Statistical Association, 98(463), 2003.

"Monitoring and Motivation: An Analysis of a Field Experiment" (with Daniel Nagin, James Rebitzer and Seth Sanders), American Economic Review, 92(4), 2002.

"Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population in the United States: Evidence from Available Systematic Data Sources" (with Dan Black, Gary Gates, and Seth Sanders), Demography, 37(2), 2000.

"Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms" (with Renee Landers and James Rebitzer), American Economic Review, 86(3), 1996.

"Workers as Creditors: Efficiency Wages and Performance Bonds" (with Joseph Ritter), American Economic Review, 84(3), 1994.

"A Model of Dual Labor Markets When Product Demand is Uncertain" (with James Rebitzer), Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(4), 1991.


PhD, Economics, University of Michigan